Dorota Malek: Dayphobia

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Dorota Malek: Dayphobia
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Dorota Malek: Dayphobia
Gothic Rock, Hard Rock
Noisehead Records
March 23rd, 2012
Release length: 30:41
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Dorota Malek has been performing since the age of fourteen. Her first group was a band named Alice between the years of 2003 and 2006 before going solo into the Hard Rock and Gothic Rock scenes. Currently, she is still working in that realm, but more into an richly atmospheric version of the latter style. Dayphobia was originally released as a digital album, but five months later found itself picked up by Noisehead Records for a proper physical release. But, does this singer/songwriter’s debut full-length effort offer more to the female fronted Gothic influenced scene than already exists?

Dayphobia is one of those kind of releases that will surely peak a lot of interest in many people, and not within a specific style’s demographic. This carries a superb modern digital quality to it that captures the atmosphere the instruments establish well to appeal to those looking for something accessable, but a little more than cliche love songs with a hint of passion. All the instruments are loud, but the cymbals really stand out the most thanks to their clarity that brings them to the forefront. The snares have a nice tighter kickback to them when hit, and the kicks often have a slight echo to them. You will happen upon keyboards once in a while as well, and they sometimes have a slight synth sound to them that works within current standard of both Pop and even Gothic Rock genres. The guitars find a lower tone being used in the cleaner distortion, and the bass really stands out well during the slower, emptier moments with a deep, yet vibrant performance.

But, the issue here comes down to the vocals. Much of Dayphobia actually really stands out as a dimmer Musical than anything, but can also boast a radio friendly approach in the vein of modern day Entwine. In fact, the opening track “One Big Mess” sounds like an altered enough to be original version of the song “Still Remains.” Unfortunately, the enthusiastic vocal performance doesn’t carry over with it, as this finds the singing to be really restrained, never reaching the emphatic levels the song sometimes builds up for. But, with that said, this one is really infectious, keeping a Hard Rock sound mixed with slight Pop influences thanks to some of the keyboards, and the lighter environment. The simpler chorus will also stick in your mind, but it feels almost ruined by the mundane and generic singing that feels as though even Dorota herself has no real interest in this song other than earning some attention from the airwaves. But, it’s clear right away this is meant to cater to the top hits Rock audience given the rich atmospheres and further developed performances by everyone involved on “Dead Bird.” The song carries a bit of light that seems like fading hope being crushed at the will of really dark music that is in complete contrast to the previous offering. The range is much stronger here, and the chorus even has a slight epic tone to it that one might expect to hear in a more mainstream Musical at your local movie theater, something that is carried over in other tracks, especially the following “Vision.” “Dead Bird” itself sounds very rich, and is just a real treat to listen to with the burdening tones the deep guitars and bass weave together, holding you down with rather depressing tones in the main verses and bridges.

Unfortunately, not all of that can really be said in a positive light for everything else on here. “Victims (Aren’t We All)” is a strong performance with a slower pace that still has a catchy enough beat that your head will be bobbing along to it. The depressive tone carries a bit of a dismissive attitude that many listeners can easily get behind, while maintaining a heavy presence thanks to the lower sound of the guitars and the bass with suitable drumming in the background pushing it forward. However, “Dayphobia” is a bit of a trainwreck. This goes at a snails pace, but it allows the imperfections of the cleaner audio to shine through. The twisted musical world is established very well here despite that, and the rather creepy, feminine intimidation is present and easy to pick up. However, as it goes on, the vocals seem to revert back to the unimpressive, unenthusiastic sound of “One Big Mess,” while backed up by some really hollow music that sounds more like a poorly executed Raw Black Metal track with louder, crisper keyboards thrown over it. There’s also “Noora,” but it isn’t really worth talking about. Not that it’s bad, but it’s just short and pointless other than an introduction to “Mirror” that doesn’t really need to even exist. However, that following cut is an enjoyable song that has more of a Hard Rock presence behind it, but feels as though it has some nature-driven elements to it carried over, but doesn’t actually have any. Again, the atmosphere proves to be very beneficial, and ends up being the most inspiring bit about it.

In the end, Dayphobia is a mixed bag of good and bad ideas. The clearly radio friendly material really is nothing special, and seems to greatly limit both the music and the vocals. However, the darker, heavier songs allow Dorota Malek to spread their wings and show off a grittier side of the band that can be heavy, ominous, depressive, and/or even twisted. With only a few iffy tracks, one of which being the insanely rocky and unoriginal starting track, there’s definitely something for anyone looking for a strong environment that manages to leave a bit of an artistic emotion with the listener. It’s great to see Dayphobia finally get a physical release, but it’s one best left to sampling first. While this isn’t your traditional female fronted Gothic Rock or Metal act, it still shows signs of weakness due to it being the first effort from a solo career that has signs of both potential, and room to grow.

01. One Big Mess – 4:16
02. Dead Bird – 4:47
03. Vision – 4:20
04. Victims (Aren’t We All) – 3:47
05. Dayphobia – 4:11
06. Noora [feat. Tornado] – 1:13
07. Mirror – 3:29
08. All Against Me – 4:36
Overall Score: 7.5/10

Digital review copy of this release provided by: Svart Records via Infektion PR.